How Do You Write YA?

ya blog

I found some young ones. So cute. 🙂

Without a doubt, YA (young adult) is a very hot genre to write. It’s been around for a while, although there was a turning point in 2008 when it truly exploded. A number of writers tried their hand at it. Some found YA was for them, and others discovered writing this genre is tougher than it looks. Although, YA isn’t about to slow down anytime soon. Readers of YA are committed. They’re always after more, and for writers of this genre, we’re here to deliver.

Now, what makes YA so popular?

Those teen years we go through, are an incredible time. They’re exciting, fun, awful, painful, scary, amazing, and everything in between. It’s when we discover the world and where we fit in. In our teen years, our emotions are pure, and all that we go through is intense and totally confusing.

That’s why YA captures such a wide-ranging readership base. It crosses the generations, and is read by young adults and adults alike. There is no age barrier to YA. Even my 90-year-old grandmother has recently read my YA fantasy romance. It was her first foray into this genre, and she was fascinated by how enthralled she became. (Phew.) The story reminded her of the time she lived by the seat-of-her-pants. (Yep, seat-of-her-pants. She was such a rebel in her younger years.) She wants more YA–and just like that, she’s hooked.

So, let’s cover what YA writers should be aware of. There are certainly some points to note.

  • YA books focus on the essence of what teens go through, and I’m not talking about learning to drive a car, going to prom, or that very first date.
  • YA readers are smart. They want deep storylines, and fast-paced action, so don’t even attempt to write simple. Teens will spot simple a mile away, and just get annoyed.

In fact, it’s often said writers must pay attention to the three core questions which should be at the heart of every YA novel.

  • Who am I?
  • Where do I belong?
  • How do I get there?

A ton of new questions can arise from these three core ones, but fundamentally they make great building blocks when writing YA.

Your characters are about to take the journey in discovering the answers they seek. There’ll be struggles and mistakes, bends and twists in the road, triumphs and tears, but that’s how teens uncover all life has to offer. The journey they undertake must be deep. They must challenge themselves to sort out any inner fears and frustrations, and while doing so, remain completely relatable.

All in all, YA books are about teens coming to terms with who they are, and experiencing all life’s ups and downs along the way.

Okay, so if you’re after some YA novel guidelines, here are some helpful pointers.

  • So far, there are no forbidden subjects, but whatever you delve into must be done with sensitivity and care, taking into account the age of the teen reader. Often we can allude to something, and then fade out the scene. The YA reader is smart, and they’ll be aware of what’s happened.
  • Overall, teens will identify more strongly with the character’s feelings, and this is why intense situations don’t always need to be written in.
  • Characters are teens, and aged within those years.
  • YA novels generally run between 40,000-75,000, but you will find books either side of that. If there is a particular publisher you’re after then make sure you check out their website’s submission guidelines to see if they have a preferred word count.
  • There are also no vocabulary restrictions for YA, but make certain any coarse language is age or topic appropriate.
  • YA is predominantly written in 1st or 3rd Person (I said, or she said.) Although there are some in 2nd Person (you say.)
  • And lastly, any subgenre is enjoyed, like fantasy, romance, paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi, historical, mystery, adventure, humor. There are no limitations on this.

I hope this post has been helpful for those writers wanting to delve into YA, or for those who just want to know a little more about this intriguing genre. Even in writing this post, I was surprised by how much I had to share. YA is certainly not easy to write, although it’s incredibly enjoyable.

But there’s more…

I’m going to share a link to the most traumatic post I’ve ever written which was featured this week on Dear Teen Me. I cried like a baby as I wrote it.

Here’s what happened. A few weeks ago, I was asked by “Dear Teen Me” to write a post, and I was thrilled to accept. Then I received the details. I was to write a letter to my teen-self, and I tell you, it was the most traumatic writing experience ever. Who wants to write a letter to their teen self? Not me, but I’d committed to it, so I jumped in with both feet and shared from my heart.

If you want to find out what made me blubber and cry, (I think I went through an entire box of tissues,) then check out the post here.
http://dearteenme.com/?p=7477

Thanks for taking a look if you did.

If you have any questions, just leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. And if you’d like to read a YA novel, then feel free to check out my YA/NA Magio-Earth series with its abundance of 4&5 Star reviews. Enjoy, and take care this week.

1.1.2 magio-earth women

Amazon Author Page for all Books

ENCHANTER (Magio-Earth #3): Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / Kensington Publishing iTunes / Kobo

HUNTER (Magio-Earth #2.5): Amazon Kindle

WARRIOR (Magio-Earth #2): Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / Kensington Publishing iTunes / Kobo

PROTECTOR (Magio-Earth #1): Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / Kensington Publishing iTunes / Kobo  

Advertisements

Kensington’s Acquisition of Lyrical Press and What It Means For Me.

inspiration

Hey everyone,

The new year has certainly rolled in and brought a ton of surprises along with it. On January 1st, my publisher Lyrical Press was acquired by Kensington Publishing Corp and is now a digital imprint for this large New York publishing house.

I’m so excited by this move forward by Lyrical, to grow and expand within the digital world. Lyrical will be bringing you more top quality books by fabulous authors and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

Last week I signed contracts for my backlist of books, including Protector, Warrior and Witness Pursuit. They will be back on the market around mid-March once the contracts are received and the books relisted (hopefully sooner.) Enchanter, the third book in my YA/NA series, will also release with Kensington/Lyrical in May. I’m actually sitting on Enchanter’s cover right now, and I can’t wait to show it to you. The moment I’m given the go-ahead, I’ll be blasting that baby about.

Hunter, Highlander’s Captive and Highlander’s Castle are all available on Amazon, so you can grab copies of those whenever you like. And a huge thank you to all of you who have. Highlander’s Castle joined Captive in Amazon’s bestsellers charts within just a couple of days after release, so thank you. Thank you.

On another note, I’ve received several personal emails and messages from aspiring authors this month. I love helping other authors as I can, and I’ve had some great, thought-provoking discussions. I was particularly asked if I was now a hybrid author, a writer who is both traditionally and self published? And if so, how did I come to that decision and why? I’m bringing those questions to my blog this week, and to share the information on it.

As I see it, every writer has the choice of how they want to publish their books, it’s just traveling down that road and discovering how to negotiate all the twists and turns that’s the tough part. Do you want to seek an agent, cold submit to publishers, or self publish? There’s so much advice out there and it’s really hard to weigh everything up and make the right decision. That was the major concern these aspiring authors who messaged me had. They didn’t want to make a wrong choice, so what advice did I have?

I’ve been writing for six years and have been exactly where they are, and understand where they want to head. Writing a book takes time, dedication and love, but that’s only the beginning. Editing a book takes learning our craft, guidance and a ton of hard work. Publishing a book takes knowledge, knowledge and knowledge. Anyone these days can self publish a book, but the last thing you want to do is have a book out there which is not up to grade.

Knowledge is needed. That’s why there are publishers. Publishing is a business, and publishers have that knowledge. Traditional authors come by some of that knowledge as they traverse the path to publication with their publishers. Self published authors must seek that knowledge on their own, and I applaud them for all the hard work they do in getting there. No matter if we’re a traditional, hybrid, or a self published author, we all work hard.

Back to the question though? Why did I chose to become a hybrid author? Honestly, it kind of just happened, and snuck right up on me. First, I wrote a novella (Hunter) and I wanted to use it to market my YA/NA series. That’s what started it all.

I do though have a professional editor, and I’d never release a self published book without having my editor go over my books with the skill and finesse she does. I’m a professional author, and if you read any one of my books, you’ll get nothing but my very best. I will also continue to publish by both means, traditionally and self published. I just love the combination of the two.

I also believe 2014 will be the year we see a large number of traditionally published authors (like myself,) branch out and self publish some of their works. Why not? This is the best time to be a writer, and there are so many avenues open to us.

We just have to make sure we make the right decision at the right time so we keep things moving along smoothly. For aspiring authors. Only you know what’s best for you and your work. I’m sure you’ll seek advice and probably get a ton of information, but weigh it all up for yourself and see what feels right. If you decide though to self publish your first book, I highly recommend you seek an editor. I know they cost money, but is this a career choice or not? Beta readers and critique partners are fabulous people. They do an amazing job. Love them. But professional editors are like gold. Go for the gold. 🙂

If anyone else would like to offer advice, drop in a comment. Perhaps you’re like me and are now a hybrid author. Let me know. I’d love to hear about it.

–ooOoo–

~~ Joanne Wadsworth’s Books ~~

Buy HIGHLANDER’S CASTLE (Highlander Heat #1) at: Amazon Kindle

Buy HIGHLANDER’S CAPTIVE (Highlander Heat Novella) at: Amazon Kindle

Buy HUNTER (Magio-Earth Novella) at: Amazon Kindle

Buy WITNESS PURSUIT (Bodyguards #1) at: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Kobo

Buy WARRIOR (Magio-Earth #2) at: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Kobo

Buy PROTECTOR (Magio-Earth #1) at: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Kobo

Take care this week. :)

Writing DEEP POV — A Writer’s Secret Weapon

inspiration 5

If there was ever a secret to writing, then mastering DEEP POV would be it. It certainly takes time to learn the techniques involved around getting this POV right, but I hear time and time again from editors and publishers that this is the most powerful tool in a writer’s arsenal. Study and delve into it, and ensure you have this secret weapon at the top of your toolbox. As a writer, going DEEP, means you have to go deep inside your character’s head when you tell your story. Every action, reaction, emotion and thought has to be shown as if the character was living and breathing the story, and not the author telling it.

Here are some tips and techniques to aid you in mastering your POV and going Deep.

  • In order to keep things in perspective as you write, allow your POV character to guide you through their world.
  • Use all the character’s senses to feel, hear, smell, see and taste things.
  • Since the character is the guide, he or she can share all their emotions, reactions, thoughts, opinions, and decisions.
  • This encourages showing instead of telling. Because when we tell, we’re explaining from an author’s perspective.
  • We don’t want an author’s perspective when we go Deep. We want a character’s perspective.
  • We need to be inside the character’s head and looking out of their eyes.
  • Which means don’t allow your character to step in front of you. (This is hugely important. And I’m going to write this line again so it really sticks.)
  • Don’t allow your character to step in front of you.
  • No, you are not standing behind the character explaining their thoughts and actions.
  • You are looking out of their eyes.

Did you all get that? Because that is the key to going Deep. You are looking out of their eyes. You are experiencing what is happening to them. Who just got goose bumps when that registered? Okay, now onward from that point.

  • Now that you’re looking out of your character’s eyes, the things you notice or remark upon will drastically change. You’ll only mention things that matter to the character.
  • This means your descriptions will tighten.
  • For example, say your character is running for her life out of the house from a killer. She won’t bother to explain what the curtains look like, or how plush the carpet is. No. She is focused on the door, and not the exotic wood panelling, but the knob and yanking it open. Only bring to life on the page what the character is focused on. Tighten descriptions so the POV becomes more targeted.
  • What happens next? You’re looking through the character’s eyes. You’re not going to describe the street and the flowers blossoming on the trees. No. She doesn’t have time to analyse those sorts of things. She’s looking for an escape path, and that’s it. For example: The black SUV parked outside the neighbor’s house. The door’s opening. It’s Jack. He’ll help her.
  • Do you see where I’m heading? Tightening your descriptions and only showing what you are looking at out of your character’s eyes, will allow you to suddenly bring in her thoughts and reactions with ease. All your character’s senses come to roaring life and will enhance each and every scene. That’s what every author wants, to drag their reader right into their story.
  • Which means your world of storytelling has changed, and all because you’re mastering your POV.

Fantastic, isn’t it?

So, the next time you’re having trouble with a scene and believe it’s become too flat, try this.

  • Go back and see if you’re looking out of your character’s eyes.
  • Check and see if you are honed into all your character’s senses.
  • If you are living and breathing your character.
  • That you are inside their head.

To aid you with this, if you’re interested in reading a book written entirely in Deep 3rd POV, then I’d highly recommend you grab a copy of my contemporary romantic suspense, WITNESS PURSUIT. When I was trying to master my POV, I was after books written in Deep, where I was dragged right into the story. Seeing Deep in action infuses it into our minds. There is no telling whatsoever in Witness Pursuit (eg, she watched, she heard, she noticed, she thought, etc, etc. And all the character’s senses are enhanced to the deepest degree.) The POV is tight and any character intrusion (eg, allowing my characters to step in front of me) doesn’t occur in the writing.

If you’re after a book written in Deep 1st, then I’d recommend WARRIOR for you. The same principles apply to Deep, no matter if you’re writing in 1st or 3rd. In fact apart from my debut novel, Protector, (where I was still mastering the technique,) all my books thereafter are written in Deep, so feel free to grab copies as new releases arrive. Get infused into the world of Deep storytelling. You’ll love it. The links for all my books are below should you have need of them.

Also, one last thing. I had some fun yesterday playing around with my website. I’ve created a new home page, all snazzy, or at least I hope so. If anyone has time to check it out, I’d love it. There’s even a Rafflecopter giveaway at the end, so feel free to click on that link and enter my super-duper giveaway. My website link is http://www.joannewadsworth.com. You’ll now find my blog under it’s own menu tab, although that won’t interfere with anyone receiving these posts via email. That’s all the same.

Happy Deep writing, and thanks for joining me this week.

~ Joanne Wadsworth’s Books ~

Buy WITNESS PURSUIT (Bodyguards #1) at: Amazon Kindle / Amazon Paperback / B&N Nook & Paperback / iTunes / Kobo

Buy WARRIOR (Magio-Earth #2) at: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Kobo

Buy PROTECTOR (Magio-Earth #1) at: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Kobo

Buy FIRST FROST, A Lyrical Press Anthology (including Highlander’s Captive by Joanne Wadsworth): Amazon KindleAll Romance Ebooks

TAKE CARE. :)

Have You Lost The Plot?

I would say “random picture alert” but there is in fact a plot point here.

police dogs

Yes, the dogs have not lost the plot. 🙂

For some writers plotting is a breeze, and for others they’re continuously trying to climb the mountain to discover it. I’m a pantser by nature, which means I generally fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants and allow my story to unfold as it will. The majority of writers are, and that’s the creative side of us bursting forth. But I’ve also learnt the benefits of plotting various elements into my story. A writer has to plot in order to give their book its meat and direction.

So how do we plot when we’re a pantser?

  • We keep it logical.
  • Know who your main characters are. Ie, your hero, heroine and antagonist.
  • I’ve mentioned the main three in particular, because of my golden rule. Here’s the graphic I created a few months ago and shared.

conflict

  • Here, story conflict = plot.
  • Ascertain what your main plot point is and write it down. The reason I do this, is because my characters drive their story, and with the plot written down, I can continually remind them of it and keep them on track.
  • Don’t forget your subplots. They can be great and add layers to your story, only don’t create too many of them that they ruin the main plot itself. You don’t want readers having to work too hard at keeping all your characters and story lines in place.
  • Remember that subplots are designed to tug the reader in, to add depth, but not to overcomplicate matters. Keep your focus on the main plot, but enjoy the rocking motion afforded by subplots to enhance your reader’s experience.
  • Don’t allow any holes to develop in your plots by leaving out a missing piece of the puzzle.
  • And don’t allow your characters to act unnatural or out of turn during those conflicts.
  • Keep your pacing on track, ensuring your characters grow with each point of conflict (plot) you throw at them.
  • Make every scene you write earn its place in being a part of your plot. If it makes no sense to have it there, drop it.
  • Never forget all plot points must reach a resolution, otherwise a loose end leaves your reader in limbo and wondering what happened to that character.

I hope you found this list of “how to plot” helpful. If there’s anything you’d like to add to the list, then drop me a comment. I love hearing from you guys.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to read one of my books from my thrilling new Young Adult Fantasy Romance series then by all means, check out the book links below to pick up your copy of PROTECTOR or WARRIOR.

Here’s what one reviewer has just said about my latest release:

“Warrior held my attention from start to finish. Each obstacle Hope and Silas encountered had me jumping with joy, but often screaming in frustration. What made me fall in love with Warrior, is the heart thudding romance between the two main characters. It isn’t just a love story, it’s so much more. 5 Stars.” – Nocturne Romance Reads

1test.5 - Magio-Earth2

Buy PROTECTOR (Book One) at: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Kobo

Buy WARRIOR (Book Two) at: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Kobo

–ooOoo–

HAVE A GREAT WEEK. CATCH YA LATER. 🙂

Capturing That Elusive Writer’s Voice and Making it Sing

writer4

Sooo true. I’m claiming this saying for myself.

When I first began the submission process on my first novel, I read over and over from agents and publishers on their websites that they wanted to see submissions reflecting a unique writer’s voice. I had no idea what that was at the time, but still thought, hey, that’s me. What’s not unique about my voice? I’m a Kiwi from Down Under. My voice is my own, and I have an extremely unique take on the world being that I’m always standing upside-down and the other-way-around. 🙂

Yeah, that’s not writer’s voice, but it wasn’t long before I truly understood what it was. I also came to realize it’s the most elusive aspect of writing, that it’s a challenge to truly grasp, yet also a challenge I could completely take on.

So, what is writer’s voice?

Writer’s voice is that wonderful combination of blending your own unique writing style with a deep understanding of your characters, along with knowing how their story best needs to be told. A writer’s voice is the most moving part of the story, and it’s sometimes referred to as the heartbeat of the main character. In other words, a writer’s voice is the magic that makes the story soar.

A strong writer’s voice brings the POV character to life, captivates the reader and has them hanging onto every word, every description, action, emotion and reaction.

A writer’s voice should be completely authentic, and most certainly not a copy of your favorite author.

A writer’s voice should also allow the reader to bond emotionally with the main character, to forge a connection that can’t be broken. This is why it’s so important for a writer to know their characters inside and out.

I’ve spoken before about understanding your characters in this way, and well before you get to the end of your first draft, otherwise there can be a ton of rewriting simply because you’ve come late to the party. A writer needs to know the heart of their main character, their essence, what makes them tick, what their strengths and ultimate fears are. You need to be intimately familiar with their entire thought process. Nothing is off-limits. And therein the magic begins.

Magic = Knowing your characters.

Magic = Constantly growing our writing skills and abilities.

Magic = Understanding, and writing your POV correctly.

That’s right, don’t forget to nail your POV within your writer’s voice. Knowing which POV would be the best in telling your story is incredibly important. 1st Person, 3rd Person, DEEP POV? Omni? The wrong POV can do your story a disservice, so study, study, study. And read widely in the genres of your stories.

I hope this post was helpful. Have you discovered and mastered your writer’s voice? Perhaps you’re still on the road to getting there. It definitely takes time and perseverance. In truth, I’m still traveling along that road. With each story I write, my writer’s voice strengthens and becomes more distinct. It’s all about the magic.

Today is also my official release date for WARRIOR. Yay! Any if you want to read a thrilling new Young Adult Fantasy series filled with intrigue at every corner, then by all means, check out the book links below to pick up your copy of PROTECTOR or WARRIOR.

Each book in my Magio-Earth series features a different hero and heroine, but the characters from the books all intertwine and you get to catch up with them all along the way. As such the books can be read independently of each other, but of course as with most series, they’re more fun when read in order. Here are those links:

1test.5 - Magio-Earth2

Buy PROTECTOR (Book One) at: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Kobo

Buy WARRIOR (Book Two) at: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Kobo

THANKS EVERYONE FOR JOINING ME. YOU HAVE A SUPER DUPER WEEK.

Every Writer’s Dream — Understanding Our Characters

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

So true. 🙂

Two weeks ago I began writing my next WIP. It’s book two in my historical Highlander Heat line, and I’m reminded as my characters’ personalities build, of how important it is to understand them, to get down to the nitty-gritty and make them real.

We need to have a good grasp of who they are and what makes them tick. They must be unique, which means we need to take care not to typecast them. With this typecasting, I’m referring to giving our characters labels such as “the bad boy,” the “misfit,” or the “cheerleader.” Do you see where I’m heading?

Readers are clever, and they quickly pick up on characters who represent a common character cliché. That can bore the reader. It can also cause the reader to turn from them because the character just doesn’t feel real.

Our characters also shouldn’t be too perfect, too weak, too beautiful, or too much of any one thing. As writers we have to get inside our characters’ heads and humanize them.

A great way to do this is to interview them. Yep, that’s right. Here’s what I do. Once I’m a chapter or two into their story, at the point where I have a good grasp of each of my main characters, I write down their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately what drives them. Their faults and fears have usually popped up by now and become glaringly obvious. Those are key, because as they say, conflict+conflict=story.

I love their faults and fears. Those issues allow my characters to become authentic, and it’s my job to throw challenges at them which will test those weaknesses and allow them to grow. There is nothing better than having our reader become invested in our characters, for them to cheer them on as they work at resolving their issues. Just remember to keep your characters’ plight and their scenes real.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and that you’ve come away with some helpful hints. I know for myself, if my story isn’t moving forward the way it should, it’s usually because I don’t have enough understanding about my characters. I love those interviews. Give it a go if you haven’t tried it before.

Don’t forget to drop me a comment if you’d like to. My post always goes live on a Monday afternoon Down Under in New Zealand, and when I wake up on a Tuesday morning the first thing I do is read all your messages. I truly love hearing from you guys. You all make my Tuesday mornings shine, so don’t be afraid to say hi.

Stay safe. I’ll catch ya later.

1test.3

PROTECTOR > BUY THE BOOK: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Lyrical Press / iTunes / Kobo

1test.4

Readers Inform. Writers Take Note.

bookwormsI love this. Love it. 🙂

An incredibly interesting survey has just been run by E-book Formatting Fairies. The results were compiled during the month of June, and the results came in on August 1st. The survey focused on readers informing about how they read, what they like, and where they find us.

There were forty-four questions, and although it’s not a scientific survey, I’m certain most writers will come away with some valuable information. I certainly enjoyed the open platform of conversation at the end through the comments section, and was able to garner even more insight. Full survey here.

The first key pointer I took away from this survey would be the importance of an author’s website, blog and Facebook author page. Here’s the actual statement made.

  • Facebook (62 percent) and Author Websites (63 percent) were virtually tied for first when readers were asked where they get their information about their favorite authors. (This was a “choose all that apply” question.) Author newsletters were a distant second at 36 percent. Goodreads scored 27 percent and Twitter 19 percent. Retail sites were next at 18 percent. It’s probably safe to conclude from these results that if you have limited time, it’s best spent on Facebook and keeping up your website.

I couldn’t agree with that statement more. It’s certainly important, as writers, that we use our websites to their full potential. That we have a blog aligned with it and stay connected. Our blog posts should reflect us, what drives us, what keeps us on our toes, what we find is fun. It’s also our place to promote our work, to share excerpts, sneak peeks, and cover reveals.

I treat Facebook in the same way. I connect with those who follow me there by posting bits about me and my work. I love sharing excerpts from books yet to release, and from any current WIP’s. Readers love getting a glimpse into what makes a writer tick. FB is certainly a social platform, where we’re able to engage with our followers and have fun.

The second key pointer I found of importance was.

  • Thirty-five percent have been introduced to new authors via free books more than 20 times. Twenty-one percent have found new authors through free books more than 10 times. If they liked what they read in the free book, 85 percent were extremely likely to buy another book from that author.

Readers love free e-books, and if they like what they read, 85 percent were extremely likely to buy another book from that author. Those are great stats. I don’t know about you, but that’s got me thinking I need to write a novella and offer it for free. I’d love readers to get a taste of my work and see if they like it, and then come back for more.

What about you? Did either of these two key pointers I took away from the survey, get you thinking too?

–ooOoo–

Also, I asked a couple of weeks ago, if you had a spare minute to vote for PROTECTOR’S cover in the You Gotta Read cover contest. You guys rock, because Protector came away taking 1st place. Yay! Thank you so much. 1st Place. Wicked!

And lastly, I’m going to finish this post with the best news ever. My last completed novel, HIGHLANDER’S CASTLE, a historical Highlander time-travel romance has just gone under contract with Lyrical Press, NY. I loved writing this first book in my HIGHLANDER HEAT SERIES. It’s a powerful story of a twenty-first century woman and her identical ancestor swapping places in time, the young modern woman’s path now colliding with the Highland warrior her ancestor was set to handfast with. Here’s a wee sneak peek (unedited.)

In the bright light of day, the courtyard, part thick with grass and part paved with stone, led to one place. Alex. Her Highlander from another time.

He stood near the center well which was adorned with ivy and bunches of lavender. The castle’s walls rose majestically around him.

He looked incredible. Over an immaculate white silk shirt, his plaid was fastened with a magnificent hand-sized broach depicting warriors at war. He appeared one himself with one hand fisted over the hilt of his side-belted sword.

She licked her lips then lifted her gaze. His jaw was smooth and strongly angled, his chin holding a visible cleft in the center, and his golden gaze was targeted right on her.

I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to drop me a comment if you’d like to. I love hearing from you guys.

Stay safe. I’ll catch ya later.

1test.3

PROTECTOR > BUY THE BOOK: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Lyrical Press / iTunes / Kobo

1test.4

Creating Conflict in Your Novel

conflict

Conflict. Yep, I’m feeling this driver’s conflict.

This week I’ve begun writing my next novel. I’m extremely creative when it comes to the writing process. Usually I allow my stories to unfold as the characters drive their story along, although I’ve also learnt the importance of laying out core plot issues.

So, what’s one of the most important plot issues you need to consider when beginning your novel? Yes, that’s creating conflict. Here are some key pointers to guide you along the way:

  • CREATING CONFLICT
  • You need to ensure your conflict is sound.
  • It needs to be paramount within your story.
  • Conflict forces your characters to act.
  • Strong conflict leads to greater opportunities for your characters.
  • And ramping up the stakes with that conflict drives your reader to care about the outcome.

Now to cover a little bit more about creating conflict.

  • THE ANTAGONIST
  • Who’s your antagonist?
  • Or in some cases what’s the antagonist? There are of course stories where the antagonist becomes the obstacle the hero or heroine is trying to overcome.
  • Usually the antagonist brings the conflict to the forefront.
  • Focus on that conflict.
  • Infuse your story with scenes driven around that conflict.
  • Also, allow your characters to experience heightened emotions as they deal with the powerful conflict you’ve put in place.
  • Don’t forget increasing the stakes engages your readers.
  • It compels them to keep reading, and to find out what happens next.
  • THE HERO/HEROINE
  • The hero/heroine must come into contact with the conflict you’ve put in place.
  • Throw the conflict/challenge at them.
  • Force them to face their fears.
  • Allow the actions of your characters to burst off the page as they rise to the challenges you’ve set them.
  • Because higher stakes equals page-turning action.

Hopefully some of these pointers have provided inspiration. Lastly, let me share the one thing I always keep at the forefront of my mind as I’m writing. I’m actually whizzing it up into a nice graphic for those who’d like to print it off.

conflict

If you want to drop me a comment, make sure you do. Perhaps you have other pointers you’d like to add to mine. I certainly hope the ones I’ve mentioned have got you thinking. Happy writing, everyone. Create that conflict. :)

Stay safe. I’ll catch ya later.

1test.3

PROTECTOR > BUY THE BOOK: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Lyrical Press / iTunes / Kobo

1test.4

How Do You Become a Successful Writer?

inspiration 5

Sooo true. 🙂

The most important thing I’ve learnt, is if I want to become a successful writer, there’s one thing I must do.

You’ve probably guessed it, right?

It’s write. Write. Write.

Writing one book won’t bring in the bucks.

Writing two probably won’t either.

Oh, but having three, now that’s usually the turning point.

Yep, I’ve heard a lot of authors, as well as professionals in our industry, say with an author’s third book’s release, comes the change we’re all after — an increase in readership numbers. As writers, that’s what we’re all after. We want our books to be read, for people to enjoy them, to embrace our stories as we have.

So, I’m counting down those days. My second book, WARRIOR, releases in only eight weeks. My third book follows a few months after that, and my fourth, in the first half of next year. And so it shall go on…

Or at least that’s the plan. Within another week I’ll have my fifth novel completed, and I’ve already begun work on my sixth. That’s right. I’m writing. Writing. Writing.

Even my hubby can’t keep up with which book I’m currently talking about when I mention my schedule. He’s like, “Ah, so which one is that? I’m getting lost.”

I jumped up and down the first time he said it, because that means I’m heading in the right direction.

So how about you? How’s your writing going? Perhaps you’re still working on getting to publication? Or maybe you’re there. If so, how many books do you have out? Did that third book see you hit a turning point in an upward direction? Or are you still heading there like I am? I love hearing from you, so drop a comment and let me know.

And lastly, I’d like to announce the winner of “The 4th of July Blog Hop.” That’s Katie Cross. I’ll be getting in touch with you to organise your e-copy of PROTECTOR. Congratulations, Katie.

Have a fabulous week everyone.

1test.3

PROTECTOR > BUY THE BOOK: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Lyrical Press / iTunes / Kobo

1test.4

Author Brands — How Important Are They?

quote3

I’m a voracious reader, working my way through two to three books a week. I either purchase new e-books because I like to get them instantly on my Kindle, or re-read favorites from my heavily stocked bookcase.

Right now I’m looking at all the books I have. It’s an extensive collection and actually catalogued by author name then title. I can see instantly my love of series. When I read a book by an author I enjoy, I quickly pick up every other book in the series if there is one.

I’m also always on the lookout for new authors. There is such an amazing array of talent out there, but how do we as authors, ensure readers of our genre find us?

Growing your AUTHOR BRAND is certainly one way, and even better, here’s a simple approach on how to make a start.

Six months ago I began to analyze my own author brand. I have three separate series underway, in three separate genres:

Magio-Earth series — YA fantasy romance.

Bodyguards series — Heart-pounding romantic suspense.

Highlander Heat series — Highlander time-travel romance.

I took those three series and came up with the following tagline–

Where Romance meets Fantasy and Adventure…

(I added that tagline right after my name, on my website’s header.) copy-cropped-1test1-71.jpg

Now, the idea behind a tagline is to display it everywhere you can. It describes what you write, or the image you want to portray, or what simply makes you, you. Here’re some places an author’s tagline can go:

  • In your blog/website header.
  • As your email signature.
  • On your Amazon author page.
  • On your Facebook header.
  • On your Goodreads page.
  • Somewhere in your book. It’s just a tagline, so it could go in the “about the author section,” or “title page” right after your name.
  • On your Twitter profile.
  • On your Pinterest profile.

And I’m sure there are a ton of other places as well. Your tagline represents what you do. It’s a catchy phrase, with the intention to become memorable.

Here’re some great taglines I’ve seen:

  • Nalini Singh, New York Times Bestselling Author. (Yeah, just had to pop that one in. I’d sooo like that one for myself.)
  • Jessi Gage, …A Time to Love.
  • Jennifer Probst, A little bit naughty…a little bit nice.
  • Sondrae Bennett, Love stores that sizzle off the page.
  • Jennifer Lowery, Where Happily Ever After is Only the Beginning…
  • Karen Y. Bynum, …Fate be damned.
  • Sonya Clark, Where magic and music cast a spell on the night.
  • Shannon MacLeod, Writer of romance, teller of tales, weaver of dreams.

So, have you begun working on your author brand? Do you have a tagline? Drop me a comment and let me know yours.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post. Have a fabulous week.

1test.3

PROTECTOR > BUY THE BOOK: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Lyrical Press / iTunes / Kobo

1test.4